Veteran Actor (Outer Banks) & Musician Loves Entertaining & Returning To Charleston
Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer
Saturday August 12th actor, singer, and songwriter Charles Esten performs for the third consecutive year at the historic Windjammer on the Isle of Palms. However at least for one night only, Esten prefers to call it 'the Ward-Jammer', giving nod to his character Ward Cameron in the Netflix series 'Outer Banks', a role that endeared him to Charleston and IOP.
"I have to admit I love playing at The Windjammer. It's the ideal beach bar and the people there treat me so well. Honestly I love the Isle of Palms just as much. I love restaurants like Acme Cantina and The Refuge." The latter hosted a private fundraiser for Esten earlier this year helping raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, a foundation he's passionate about.
He adds, "My wife (Patty) and I have grown fond of many places on the Isle of Palms and Sullivan's Island." The couple stayed on Sullivan's during shooting for 'Outer Banks'.
Esten equally admires The Windjammer fans, especially those who braved the rainy weather in 2022. "It was touch and go last year. We weren't sure if we were going to be able to perform. But eventually the weather improved enough to play and I'm thankful the fans hung around. Charleston is just such a welcoming community. Patty and I love coming here. We've made many friendships, so returning as often as we do is beginning to feel a lot like coming home."
Esten is hoping fans will get to see the opening band this year that couldn't play due to time restraints caused by the weather. Betcha, a four member alternative rock band formed out of a college dorm room in Nashville. "These guys are beyond good. Honestly they blow audiences away." Or like Esten likes to say, "Come getcha some Betcha." The band opens on regular occasions for Esten, with his daughter dating one of the band members. For more on this awesome band visit http://betchaband.com/
Catching up with Esten. His character Ward Cameron met his demise at the end of season three, which Esten says has allowed him to turn his attention towards his music. "Music is one of my earliest loves. I love every aspect of music. The recording, songwriting, and performing."
Even though he's graced the Grand Old Opry stage over 160 times and his songs are easily country radio friendly, due to his success as an actor traditional radio has not embraced him. He doesn't fret over it. "Thank God that I and others like myself have streaming and digital formats we can rely on to get our songs out."
Followers of Esten and his musical career may be surprised to discover in 2018 he was awarded the Guinness World Records title of 'The most consecutive weeks to release an original digital single by a music act'. "It's crazy. It never occurred to me when I was uploading the songs. But it's a nice nod."
While he's been issuing songs for years and has dozens available through his website, what he's more proud of recently is the debut of his first ever album. "It's been a long time coming." Although he's released three singles during 2023 that will appear on the album Esten is mum on the overall title. "I'm planning to announce that during The Windjammer show, so stay tuned Charleston."
Three tracks from the TBA album include 'One Good Move' which dropped in March, followed by the inspirational track 'A Little Right Now' in May, and his current release 'In a Bar Somewhere'. All three might be considered ballads however Esten has a different take. "While that is true, I feel they are pretty rockin' ballads. And the rest of the album includes some pretty up-tempo and guitar driven songs. I'm influenced by a lot of music, so it reflects in my own. I'm excited about the my first ever album."
According to Esten all his songs are personal but 'One Good Move' is even closer to home, reflecting his long time friendship and marriage to Patty. The couple met in college and have been married for over three decades. "She's my rock, my manager, and my biggest fan, and I'm her biggest fan."
The song came about during a jam session. "I was in a writer's retreat with a lot of young writers." He jokingly adds, "Of course at my age (57) all the writers are younger than me. Anyway I was in this retreat with a lot of young writers I have respect for and we're mulling over song lyrics. That's how these things work. You bounce ideas and lyrics off each other. Kind of like The Beatles. Ringo would say we're working 'eight days a week' or 'it's been a hard days night'. Sometimes when something sticks you have all these guys pulling out their phones and jotting down notes or recording a few lines."
The genesis for 'One Good Move' came about by accident. "I told the guys I remembered when I was young I was a 'bad decision machine'. Making several mistakes. Quite frankly, looking back I was a moron at times." But Esten adds there was a silver lining. "The one good move, actual the incredible move, was I held on to Patty. I knew no matter what went wrong around me, she was the one good thing in my life. They all came back and said there's something we can build on."
Esten is thankful he has his music to get him by, especially since Hollywood is on strike and basically shut down. "It's a tough time for a lot of my fellow actors and writers. I have a many friends in the industry, and I'm hoping all sides can come to a resolution soon."
With acting taking a backseat Esten will continue to write, record, and play his music wherever they'll have him. "As much as I enjoy all three, performing live might have the edge. I love feeding off the crowd and entertaining fans." And while he has enough songs in his arsenal to fully engage fans, he admits he likes to throw in a few recognizable covers. "I'm an old school Springsteen fan. You never know what I might add in. We're actually working on the set list now."
This fall Esten and several of his fellow stars from the hit show 'Nashville' will reunite to for a couple of dates in America before heading overseas. "We have two sold out shows at the Ryman Theater (Nashville) and one in Chicago before we head to the Europe. Country music has some roots in the UK and fans there really enjoy artists coming over to play for them."
Until such time Esten will stay busy this summer in America, including performing at The Ward-Jammer aka The Windjammer on Saturday August 12th. "Can't wait. Love coming b back to Charleston. It feels like home. I hope the annual show is something we can keep on the tour schedule for another 20 years." Low country fans are you ready to 'getcha some Betcha' and are you 'destine for Esten'. For more on Esten and his music visit https://www.charlesesten.com/